Jonathan Steinsapir’s practice focuses on complex civil litigation matters and counseling in the entertainment, music, technology, finance, real estate, and other general commercial sectors. Mr. Steinsapir has handled all phases of complex intellectual property disputes, including dozens of copyright, patent, and trademark cases in federal courts throughout the country. He also has extensive experience with contract cases, including cases involving licensing and output agreements. He has represented both employees and employers in trade secret and non-compete matters. Mr. Steinsapir is also beginning to develop an appellate practice, successfully arguing numerous appeals in both the Ninth Circuit and the California Court of Appeal. He has also worked on other appellate matters in the U.S. Supreme Court, the California Supreme Court, and the U.S. Courts of Appeals for the Second, Fifth, Ninth and Federal Circuits.
Recognized for his expertise in patent, copyright, trademark, and other intellectual property issues, Mr. Steinsapir is frequently asked to comment on pending matters of interest by mainstream media publications, entertainment industry publications, and legal publications, including The Los Angeles Times, Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, The Los Angeles Daily Journal, The San Francisco Daily Journal, and Law360.
In 2014, his first year of eligibility, Mr. Steinsapir was named by his peers as a “Super Lawyer” in Intellectual Property Litigation in Southern California Super Lawyers Magazine. Before that, from 2009 through 2013, Mr. Steinsapir was chosen every year as a “Rising Star” in the same magazine in Intellectual Property Litigation.
Following law school, Mr. Steinsapir clerked for the late Hon. Cynthia Holcomb Hall of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. He then clerked for Judge Margaret M. Morrow of the Central District of California. From August through December 2001, Mr. Steinsapir worked in the Pentagon for the Office of the General Counsel to the Secretary of Defense. After the September 11 attacks on the Pentagon, he traveled to Uzbekistan as the Pentagon’s only on-site legal advisor during the negotiation of an executive agreement mandating the cleanup of former Soviet biological weapons sites.
Mr. Steinsapir graduated from UCLA School of Law and was elected to the Order of the Coif. He graduated with Honors from UCSD in 1998 with a BA in Political Science and two minors, in Economics and Middle Eastern Studies. Mr. Steinsapir was born and raised in Santa Monica. He was formerly the Treasurer and Chair of the Finance Committee for the Board of Trustees of Hill & Dale Family Learning Center in Santa Monica.
Prior to joining the firm at the end of 2007, Mr. Steinsapir was associated for several years with the law firm of Irell & Manella, LLP.
- Appellate: In the last few years, Mr. Steinsapir has handled numerous appellate matters for the firm’s clients. He is currently taking the lead in handling the firm’s appeal of the district court’s dismissal of Jaycee Dugard’s Federal Tort Claims Act case against the Federal Government for injuries she sustained during her 18 years in captivity as a result of her kidnapping by a federal parolee. Mr. Steinsapir has argued several appeals in both the state and federal appellate courts. See. e.g., Ross v. O’Neal, 525 Fed. Appx. 600 (9th Cir. 2013) (affirming district court’s holding that statute was unconstitutional as applied to firm client, Shaquille O’Neal); MVP Entertainment, Inc. v. Frost, 210 Cal. App. 4th 1333 (2012) (obtaining affirmance of trial court’s ruling in client’s favor); Frost v. Frederick, 466 Fed. Appx. 604 (9th Cir. 2012) (obtaining reversal of trial court’s ruling against client). Most recently, at the beginning of 2014, Mr. Steinsapir obtained a peremptory writ of mandate in the first instance from the California Court of Appeal directing a trial court to vacate the denial of a 170.6 motion and to issue an order granting the motion.
- Copyright Matters: Mr. Steinsapir has counseled clients and litigated matters concerning copyright issues in the entertainment and music industries, the clothing and apparel industry, the commercial printing industry, the jewelry industry, and various other industries.
- Lead counsel for Mark Frost, the award-winning author, screen writer and co-creator of Twin Peaks, in a series of actions centered around allegations that Mr. Frost breached a contract to produce a motion picture based on Mr. Frost’s critically-acclaimed book, The Match: The Day The Game of Golf Changed Forever. Mr. Steinsapir argued appeals in the case in both the Ninth Circuit and the California Court of Appeal, and ultimately obtained a complete victory on summary judgment for Mr. Frost addressing an issue of first impression regarding the scope of the “signed writing” requirement of the Copyright Act. 17 U.S.C. § 204(a). The California Court of Appeal affirmed in a published opinion. MVP Entertainment, Inc. v. Frost, 210 Cal. App. 4th 1333 (2012).
- Took the lead in briefing fair use issues in Jackson Browne’s claims of copyright infringement against John McCain and the RNC based on the unauthorized use of Mr. Browne’s musical composition in a campaign commercial. After the Court rejected defendants’ fair use arguments, the matter settled on confidential financial terms but with Defendants publicly pledging “to respect and uphold the rights of artists and to obtain permissions and/or licenses for copyrighted works where appropriate.”
- Mr. Steinsapir has represented the pay television provider Starz concerning numerous copyright issues and frequently counsels Starz on numerous intellectual property issues. Among other things, he secured summary judgment for Starz on claims of copyright infringement and breach of contract filed against Starz by Disney subsidiary Buena Vista. Although the Court was tentatively inclined to deny summary judgment, the Court reversed itself after Mr. Steinsapir’s oral argument, and granted summary judgment for Starz and severed the counterclaims from the case for the sole purpose of entering a final judgment against Disney. In another matter, Mr. Steinsapir represented Starz in a 2013 jury trial in Colorado against DISH Network, where the case settled halfway through trial on favorable terms for both parties.
- Patent Matters: Represents Roland Corporation and its affiliates in various patent cases throughout the country. He currently represents Roland affiliate, Roland DGA, the number one provider of wide-format inkjet printers for the durable graphics industry in a patent infringement case in Connecticut. He also represented Roland against claims that its keyboards infringed two patents. After that case was transferred from Texas to California, the case was stayed pending a reexamination where the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office cancelled all claims in both patents-in-suit. As part of a comprehensive settlement negotiated by Mr. Steinsapir, plaintiff agreed to assign another related patent to Roland U.S. in exchange for the dismissal of Roland’s counterclaims against plaintiff.
- Mr. Steinsapir is currently representing the Executors of the Estate of Michael Jackson, with his partner Howard Weitzman, in several cases involving claims that virtual three-dimensional, moving images of Michael Jackson (sometimes mistakenly referred to as “holograms”) infringe certain patents. On May 16, 2014, after being give less than 14 hours’ notice, Mr. Steinsapir argued and defeated an application for a restraining order in federal court to enjoin a performance of a “virtual” Michael Jackson performance at the May 18, 2014 Billboard Music Awards.
- Trademark Matters: Successfully represented the Kardashian Sisters in claims that they contributed to the alleged trademark infringement by a makeup brand they endorse. Successfully represented an internet marketing firm on claims that a client misappropriated a brand, and associated trademarks, that the marketing firm had licensed to the client.
- Lead counsel, along with partner Alan Kossoff, to the successor to the Estate of Marilyn Monroe in a licensing dispute with a former licensee seeking roughly $7 million in damages after the Estate terminated its trademark license agreement. After a one-week arbitration in Chicago, the three-arbitrator panel unanimously decided in the Estate’s favor and awarded the Claimant nothing. The panel also awarded the Estate roughly $300,000 in attorneys’ fees and costs.
- Other Matters of Interest. With Howard Weitzman, represents the Executors of the Estate of Michael Jackson in several actions in the state and federal courts of New York and California. For example, Mr. Steinsapir obtained an extremely important victory on behalf of the Executors in federal court in New York, where the Court dismissed an action on the pleadings because the defendant had failed to file a timely creditor’s claim in the Probate Court in California. The federal court recognized that California’s probate scheme must be applied even to alleged creditors whose claims are not based on California law and who file their cases in federal court. AQ Consulting, WLL v. Branca, 2011 WL 240812 (S.D.N.Y.). Mr. Steinsapir later represented the Estate at a trial in probate court where the court ruled in favor of the Estate and rejected those creditors’ attempt to file a late claim. In another action in New York federal court, Mr. Steinsapir obtained a complete summary judgment in favor of the Executors in an action filed by a concert promoter who claimed over a hundred million dollars in damages for the alleged failure of Michael Jackson to perform a concert before his death. AllGood Entertainment Inc. v. Dileo Entertainment & Touring Inc., 726 F. Supp. 2d 307 (S.D.N.Y. 2010).
- As a result of Mr. Steinsapir’s work with the Estate of Michael Jackson, he has had years of experience litigating probate issues, particularly when they intersect with civil litigation matters. Mr. Steinsapir has expertise in claims filing requirements including when and how they apply to particular cases, the one-year “death” statute of limitations, late claim petitions, and estoppel issues surrounding these matters.
- UCSD, B.A. (Political Science and minors in Economics and Middle Eastern Studies), 1998
- UCLA School of Law (graduated with honors, Order of the Coif), J.D., 2002